MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Winter / Spring 2021

24 As the old saying goes, “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” Using COVID-19 social distancing as the inspiration for an idea he’s been brewing for years, Whistler photographer John Entwhistle took that adage to heart. After scouting an ideal location—identifying hazards, assessing snowpack and planning the line—he grabbed his camera gear, hit the ski hill and went chasing the knee-deep self-portrait of his dreams… Mountain Life: Other than a wide angle GoPro shot from a selfie stick, this is the first winter action sport selfie that’s ever been submitted to ML. What went into capturing this shot? John Entwistle: It’s been quite the learning curve. I set my camera up on a tripod with a remote receiver, framing the shot as I would with any athlete, selecting my focus point to where I will ski through, and then begin breaking trail uphill. Once I reach the start point, I transition from walk to ski, tuck my skins in my jacket and attach the cable to the trigger button in my pole. I then mutter “drop,” even though nobody is around, ski down through my focus point while triggering my camera from the trigger in my pole. ML: The ultimate in social-distancing photography! Was this a direct result of the COVID-19 free time and restrictions? John : COVID has definitely been a catalyst in pushing me to pursue this project. I’ve seen some amazing examples of this being done on mountain bikes and I wondered what it would take to translate that over to skiing. Throw deep snow in the mix and it’s a slightly more complex ball game, especially when you are shooting pow and trying for untouched snow every shot. ML: How many takes does it usually take to nail a selfie of this magnitude? John : With this project, there are so many moving parts that can go wrong. I’d say I get the technical aspect right 80 per cent of the time, and the skiing about 50 per cent of the time. When those two things come together, I get twice the satisfaction as nailing a shot when I am only the photographer. ML: Travel restrictions are not making life easy for photographers; it will be interesting to see what kind of creativity those challenges inspire. Maybe this kind of self-portrait will become a new trend. John : I’d be stoked if more people were out getting after this type of project! It requires a pretty specific blend of skills, desire and patience to spend a lot of time alone in the woods. It’s definitely not for everyone. I am really looking forward to seeing some of the incredible projects that are released in the coming months from other local athletes and photographers. ML: What’s been your silver lining during the pandemic? John : Let’s be honest... it’s been a hard time for everyone. I’ve really put a focus on connecting directly with people, and less focus on pretending everything is awesome on social media. It has been a refreshing change. Oh, and spending a ton of time outside. —Todd Lawson Pow sel!es with photographer John Entwistle SOLO SHOT UPFRONT Self POW-trait. JOHN ENTWISTLE